Pete Bevacqua, the CEO of the PGA of America, says he may have been fated to attain his position atop one of the world’s largest sports organizations. It all started when he was in grammar school in Bedford, where his father was a dentist in the village.
“When I was 10, I told my Dad I wanted to play golf and he told me the best way was to caddie,” Bevacqua says. “He dropped me off at Bedford Golf & Tennis where I met the head pro, Walt Ronan, and my love affair with golf started. My father taught me the game, but Walt really taught me what the game is all about. Teaching me how to interact with members and guests; how to run clinics.”
Bevacqua worked for Bedford Golf & Tennis every summer from grammar school through high school, through four years at Notre Dame where he graduated Magna Cum Laude, and even through is first year at Georgetown University Law Center. He began his professional career as a legal associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell before landing a position with the USGA as Chief Business Officer. He also served as the USGA’s first Managing Director of the US Open Championship.
“The 1984 US Open at Winged Foot was the first big championship I ever went to,” he recalls. “I was following Fuzzy Zoeller with my father when Greg Norman sank that putt on 18 and Fuzzy thought it was for a birdie. I told my father that evening I really wanted to join the USGA. David Fay hired me in 2000.”
Bevacqua joined the PGA of America as CEO in 2012. Today he leads the organization that serves 28,000 PGA professionals across the country. The organization is well known for staging numerous major events including the PGA Championship, The Ryder Cup, and the Women’s PGA Championship.
“I feel like I was born to do this job,” he says. “It’s been an absolute dream come true to be able to grow the game, to serve our 28,000 members, to wake up every day and think about golf. It’s the most spectacular game in the world. And Westchester County is so rich in everything I love about this game,”
Bevacqua was preaching to the choir in the audience at GlenArbor when he finished with a laugh by saying, “The first thing I think when I meet someone who doesn’t play golf is, ‘boy, that must be a hollow life.’ Life would be unbearable for me without golf.”